Do you want to visit Vietnam? You don’t want to miss the Tet Holiday!

If you are thinking about visiting Vietnam, you should consider going there when the Vietnamese celebrate Tet Holiday. This is the Lunar New Year. It’s the most important celebration in the country. The Vietnamese spend time together and participate in old traditions. Do you want to find out more about this holiday? Read this article.

Cleaning the house

The Vietnamese like to have traditions. Every year they do the same things when it’s the Lunar New Year. The preparations for this holiday sometimes begin a half year in advance. One thing that every Vietnamese likes to do is to clean the house. This is not only a functional endeavor, it’s also very symbolic. The Vietnamese believe they remove the bad luck of last year by cleansing the house. This way they can fully enjoy all the good things the new year has to offer. However, when Vietnamese clean, they don’t simply do the dishes. They also repaint the house, trim the trees and a lot of other stuff.

According to the Vietnamese, luck will only fall upon people that have a clean house on the first days of the new year. So, in order to achieve this, they must have cleaned their house before the 23rd. On this day Ông Táo (the god of the kitchen) returns to heaven. Furthermore, the habitants of the house feel more comfortable in a clean house. Visitors also appreciate the cleaning efforts of the people living in the house.

Decorating the house

The Vietnamese not only clean their houses, they also decorate it. One thing they often do is to buy flowers. There are quite some differences between the North and the South. For example, in the North people often buy Peach Blossom trees. In the South on the other hand, the Ochna trees are very popular. A good Ochna tree has a lot of flowers with a nice shape. The shape of the root is also important. Vietnamese think that when a family has a nice tree, they receive a lot of luck on the Lunar New Year.

Renew yourself

The Vietnamese are not only trying to improve their houses by cleaning. They also think the New Year is a good time to renew themselves. They do this by getting a haircut, or buying some clothes. It’s very important to look good on the Lunar New Year in Vietnam.

The food they eat

The Tet holiday is also the time to eat Banh Chung, a traditional cake. The tradition is hundreds of years old, and still exists! Back in the day people used to make it themselves. Nowadays most people buy it. It’s difficult to make the cake, so this explains why a lot of people prefer to buy it. The trick is to make the cake very tight. Otherwise, it will crack and it will absorb a lot of water.  

The Vietnamese worship their ancestors

In East Asian cultures, ancestors are very important. It’s for example quite common in China to visit the graves of your ancestors with your family every now and then. In Vietnam they also have traditions in which ancestors take a central place. During the Tet holidays, the Vietnamese often make all kinds of dishes and put them on an altar. They think their ancestors will visit it. This way they can share a meal with them. It’s a way to honor the memory of the deceased family members from past times.

On New Years Eve there is a great ceremony

On New Years Eve Vietnamese people say goodbye to the old gods and welcome the new ones. They do this by preparing a special meal. This meal usually consists of five fruits. These are typically exotic fruits like watermelon, Papaya, Mango, Coconut and custard-apple.

Vietnam has a lot of traditional dishes

These five fruits are not the only thing they eat during the Tet holidays. We described earlier in this article that the cake Banh Chung is quite popular. However, pig trotters are also very common. They are served with dried bamboo shoots. This last dish is usually the main course. Side dishes like pickled onion and roasted watermelon seeds are also very popular.  

Popular activities during the Tet holidays

Something that most Vietnamese families like to do during the Tet holidays is watch some special television shows that are only available during these holidays. They, for example, like to watch Toa Quan. You can watch this show every year. In this program comedians make fun of important events of last year.

Something else that Vietnamese love is watching fireworks. They often come together in huge groups to watch these events. It can be very crowded!

Another thing the Vietnamese do is handing out and receiving lucky money. They put some money in a red envelope. Red symbolizes luck in Vietnamese culture. East Asians in general are quite fond of the color red. When someone receives a gift like this, people expect them to give something in return, but not money. They are expected to give best wishes. When a grandchild receives money from a grandparent, they will usually wish for good health. In other instances, people wish for happiness and luck among other things.  

Visiting temples and the flower market

Furthermore, Vietnamese like to visit temples. They do this on the first day of the new year. They wish for peace and prosperity in the new year. And they try to lose all the anxieties associated with the year before. Women visit these pagodas more often than men. When you arrive in a Vietnamese temple you will smell flowers and incense smoke, this is a relaxing experience.

The Vietnamese people also like to go to flower markets, where they can watch all of the beautiful flowers. Most of the streets are also decorated with flowers. So, it’s quite nice to walk around the city during this time of the year.

We hope you learned a lot about the Tet holiday. When you want to visit Vietnam, you can watch some of the rituals and customs of the Vietnamese during this special period.